Last Call: Lyft Collaborates on Chicago Beer Release; Molson Coors Acquires U.K. Cider Maker

Lyft Partners with Chicago Brewery on Beer Release

Ridesharing service Lyft is collaborating with Chicago’s Baderbrau Brewing on the release of its first beer, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The partnership will give Lyft a presence within on-premise retailers in the Chicago area where Five Star Lager — a rebranded version of Baderbau’s South Side Pride helles lager — will be sold in 12 oz. cans. Drinkers will receive a discount code with each can for up to $5 off a Lyft ride, the outlet reported.

Lyft and Baderbrau will produce 1,000 cases of the beer in its first run before evaluating the success of the promotion to determine if it will be rolled out in other markets or eliminated, the Tribune reported.

Molson Coors Acquires U.K.’s Aspall Cyder

Molson Coors has acquired Aspall Cyder, a 290-year-old U.K cider brand. The BBC reported that the deal, including debt, is worth about $54 million.

According to the outlet, the two sides had reportedly been negotiating for more than a year. Aspall joins Molson Coors’ crowded portfolio of cider brands, which already includes Smith & Forge, Crispin, Carling Cider, Sharp’s Orchard Craft Cider and Rekorderlig.

“We’re looking forward to helping Aspall become the number one premium cider in the U.K. and building on the huge potential of the Aspall vinegars, as part of an ongoing strategy to premiumize our portfolio,” Phil Whitehead, managing director of the Molson Coors U.K. & Ireland division, said in a press release.

Aspall produces about 257,000 barrels of ciders, apple juice and vinegars annually, according to the MillerCoors blog. Cider sales in the U.K. increased 5.5 percent last year, according to Nielsen data.

Modern Times Begins Production in Oregon

San Diego’s Modern Times Beer Co. has begun brewing at its satellite facility in Portland, Oregon, the company announced in its newsletter.

“Not only did we just crank out batches of Blazing World, Ice, and Orderville on the new system — which is running like a frickin’ dream — but we brewed our first collab at the new place, which happens to be our 3rd collaboration IPA with the lovely people at Great Notion Brewing,” the company wrote.

The Belmont Fermentorium — located in The Commons Brewery’s former space — is slated to open in early February.

Crazy Mountain Vacates Edwards Taproom

Colorado’s Crazy Mountain Brewery “permanently closed” its taproom in Edwards last weekend, according to the brewery’s Facebook page.

“We are relocating our brewing production and will be opening a new taproom in a new spot in Eagle County, and will be sharing information on the move, timing, etc. as quickly as possible,” the company wrote.

However, according to Westword, Eagle County District Court filings showed that Crazy Mountain’s landlord filed an “order of possession” for the taproom, which a judge granted after brewery representatives failed to appear in court.

Crazy Mountain founder Kevin Selvy told the outlet that the company has spent the last 18 months searching for a new location in Vail Valley, so it can expand its retail business and increase its brewing capacity. He added that negotiations with the company’s existing landlord for a short-term lease broke down due to the landlord wanting a long-term tenant.

Crazy Mountain maintains taproom locations in Denver, Lakewood and Glendale and has plans to add a Winter Park location later this year.

Schooner Exact Founders Exit Business

Heather and Matt McClung, co-founders of Seattle-based Schooner Exact Brewing Co., will no longer be a part of the day-to-day operations of the business, according to the company’s Facebook page.

The McClungs opened the brewery in 2007 with Ray Spencer, who will maintain his role as owner and operator. Spencer has also hired Belltown Brewing owner Marcus Charles to manage the business.

In late December, Schooner Exact closed its taproom in order to transform the space into a beer hall with a lunch counter. The taproom is slated to open March 1, according to Eater.

Walmart to Shutter 63 Sam’s Club Stores

After announcing it would increase hourly employees’ starting wages, and hand out bonuses, retail giant Walmart said Thursday that it would close 63 Sam’s Club wholesale members-only stores across the country, according to CNBC.

“After a thorough review, it became clear we had built clubs in some locations that impacted other clubs, and where population had not grown as anticipated,” Sam’s Club CEO John Furner wrote in a company email. “We’ve decided to right-size our fleet and better align our locations with our strategy.”

In a clear attempt to further compete with Amazon and Target, the company said a few of the stores will be transformed into e-commerce fulfillment centers.

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